Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nirvana in Vitznau

Am in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Lucerne Switzerland, speaking at the World Tourism Forum. Spring has sprung. The skies are cloudless, the lake clear and the Cherry Blossom is in full swing.

Had the best dinner of 2015 so far last night at Focus, in Vitznau. 45 minutes from Lucerne. Sat in the kitchen at The Chef’s Table and watched a 34 year old Swiss genius, Nenad Mlinarevic, make magic. Harmonising all local ingredients from beetroot to rhubarb, dandelion honey to iced walnut mustard and carrots from their own gardens, with trout from the neighboring village. A 2 Star Michelin with over $25 million of amazing wines in the cellars, the best lakeside view imaginable, experts in the fine arts of wine, food and service (Kuba, Michael, Marian and Alex) and a Chef heading for Global Stardom. Focus (at The Park Hotel) is worth a detour from Zurich or wherever you are in Central Switzerland. ‘Living Well is The Best Revenge’. And Nenads ‘Focus’ on local original ingredients combined imaginatively and innovatively is poetry in motion.

And to cap it all, he cancelled our taxi and drove us the 45 minute trek home, personally. In his Brand Ambassador Maserati Quattroporte. Now that’s the New Tourism!!!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Speaking of I, Me, We

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An article on Nautilus provides a fascinating birds-eye view of how we use language to express ourselves, and in turn, the role it plays in the way we use it to express ourselves. Confused?

The article starts by pointing out that the English language is highly egocentric, particularly when you compare it to language used by the Guugu Ymithirr tribe in Australia. English speakers tend to orient themselves in the world according to, well, themselves. We talk about moving forward or backward according to the direction we’re facing. English speakers describe the world from the perspective of the self. Guugu Ymithirr speakers take a different approach, using their internal compass and the cardinal directions of east, west, north and south.

Research has shown this ability also translates into other aspects of the speakers’ lives, having good spatial memory and navigational skills. Another tribe in Australia apply cardinal directions to their interpretation of time, with time moving from east to west as opposed to left to right (which is how English speakers typically express time).

Other interesting but slightly more abstract examples highlighted in the article are a language where colors are described as metaphors (e.g. ‘the man is white like a parrot’, rather than ‘the man is white’) and a language that makes you provide evidence, with speakers taking absolute care to describe things in the most truthful way possible at a particular point in time.

A reminder that our worldview is largely built on the language that we use. The words we speak create a framework in which others use to understand us, and ultimately how we understand ourselves. So choose your words wisely.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Fixer

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A former All Black guilty of match fixing?

Read John Daniell’s new novel The Fixer… published this month by Upstart Press. Mostly written ‘on location’ at Michael’s Nook, my Grasmere home. A brilliant way to warm up for The World Cup.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Connections - Quality Over Quantity

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point he describes three types of people: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. ‘Connectors’ are people who connect other people together. ‘Mavens’ are people with information. ‘Salesmen’ are people with strong negotiation skills. The book was, and still is, credited with influencing how people think about sales and how ideas catch on.

The Tipping Point was first published in 2000. Since then technology has allowed us to connect in different ways at all times. But just because connections exists doesn’t mean that they are of value. I think most people will agree that it’s what we do with those connections that really matters. This is the thrust behind a new way of thinking about Connectional Intelligence is the book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence by Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni.

In an article in Fast Company, Dhawan describes Connectional Intelligence as “Sift(ing) through the noise of social media and technology to get big things done.” The notion harks back to the old adage ‘quality over quantity’. Dhawan poses three questions as a framework for challenging our traditional concept of networking in this way:
  1. What do you care about most?
  2. What do you already know?
  3. How can one problem solve another?
To accompany and complement this framework, Dhawan and Joni suggest a new paradigm for categorizing different types of people: thinkers (the curious type), enablers (who share ideas and bring people together) and connection executors (the doers).

A big part of this is about knowing (and accepting) yourself and what your strengths are in situations that involve connecting with other people, and using this to your advantage – opening yourself up to bigger things and bigger ideas, by looking deeper than your connections, to make magic happen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

77 New Lovemarks

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You know I love a list, right? We just refreshed and it’s on “live test” right now, check it out. Already there has been a stream of new visitors from every corner of the world with new stories, many about brands you’ve never heard of before. Too often brands are thought of only in terms of Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonalds, ie the ‘megas’, so dive into this list and discover the diverse world of brands Lovemarks.

   1. Arano
   40. Lenkr
   2. Inuyasha
   41. Froot Loops
   3. Za Cosmetics
   42. GO-JEK
   4. Tyranids
   43. The Fat Doctor
   5. Rilakkuma
   44. Mass Effect
   45. Skyrim
   7. LifeBankUSA
   46. Fallout
   8. Bandung
   9. Bolt 4G
   48. Beijing
   49. Jay Chou
   50. Miyavi
   12. Outlast
   51. Watase Yuu
   13. Ovomaltine
   53. Xiaomi
   54. Kose
   16. One Piece
   55. Eeyore
   17. 50 First Dates
   18. Yogyakarta
   57. American Dad!
   19. Daiso
   58. Hitman
   20. Tolak Angin
   59. f(x)
   21. The Witcher
   60. La Fontanina
   22. Wowrack
   61. Above & Beyond
   23. Age of Kung Fu
   62. Make-A-Wish
   24. Daniela Andrade
   63. Pumpkin Pie
   64. Ayla
   27. Mezzo Cline
   66. The Piano Guys
   28. The Notebook
   67. SONOS
   29. GimmeFashion
   30. Tokyo
   31. Slayer
   70. My Food Bag
   32. Nikola Tesla
   71. Jay Z
   33. Kanye West
   34. Teamworks
   73. Airbnb
   35. Japan
   74. TUN Travel
   36. Oil Painting
   75. Portal
   37. Kingdom Rush
   76. Amnesia

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Haiku on Demand

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No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.
- Bashō

The haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry; a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. It’s a neat little package: often focusing on images from nature, the haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity and directness of expression.

The Haiku Guys personify that simplicity. Simply two guys and a girl who write haiku. Sitting behind typewriters, cracking out haiku on demand for guests they’ve been invited to entertain at parties and events. Like many entrepreneurial ventures, they started out under the radar, but have since gained popularity with a corporate client base including Bloomberg, Google and Barnes & Noble.

In an article on Fast Company, co-founder of The Haiku Guys Lisa Markuson talks about people’s (sometimes) extreme reactions to their poetry. “They cry, they laugh, they tell us we can see into their souls. It’s a very vulnerable moment that people seem to get a lot of catharsis from.”

How many times do we deliver that kind of feeling in business?